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Jewish World Review April 29, 2002 /17 Iyar, 5762

Jonathan Tobin

Jonathan Tobin
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Push for humanitarian aid to 'Palestinians' ignores terror links | In the past weeks, Palestinian Arab towns and cities were the scenes of intense combat as Israeli forces fought to track down terrorists and destroy their hideouts and bomb factories. The vast stores of armaments, explosives and paraphernalia of suicide bombers, as well as the presence of the terrorists themselves, show that Israel was entirely justified in attacking these sources of terror.

But in the aftermath of the fighting, the devastation of war has left many of the inhabitants of these places destitute and homeless.

For those who think that Israel has no right to defend itself against terrorism, any Israeli counterattack was unjustified. In this spirit, the European media, the International Red Cross and various other human-rights organizations and the United Nations have seized upon the debris of combat and the resultant casualties among Palestinians - including the armed terrorists and those who supported them - as proof of atrocities, even though Israeli forces put themselves at risk to limit civilian casualties.

Nevertheless, the privations experienced by Palestinians have evoked the sympathy of the world. While Saudi Arabia holds telethons to benefit Palestinian homicide-bomber "martyrs" and their families, who take pride in the human sacrifice of their children, even the United States has promised aid to alleviate Palestinian suffering.

But before the flow of funds to the area resumes, we should take a good look at who will administer that aid and what it will be used for. Over the past 54 years, the U.N. Relief and Works Agency has supervised the refugee camps (such as the Jenin terror base), where hundreds of thousands of Palestinians were held hostage to a war on Israel. It long ago morphed into the social-services branch of Palestinian nationalism and has helped to facilitate terror.

Nor can we treat the International Red Cross, whose former president Cornelio Sommaruga has been appointed to a "fact-finding" mission about the fighting in Jenin, as an honest broker here either. The IRC has been a consistent critic of Israel, condemning every Israeli act of self-defense and doing nothing about the fact that Palestinian Red Crescent ambulances have been used by terror groups as transport for weapons and suicide bombers.

It should also be remembered that the IRC has blackballed Israel's Magen David Adom - the Red Star of David - from membership in its international group because it will not accept a star of david symbol alongside the already approved crosses and crescents. This policy, which is opposed by the American Red Cross, has led to the IRC becoming a symbol, not of mercy for the sick, but of the growing anti-Semitism that pervades Europe these days.

Even worse, the Palestinian Authority, has proven to be nothing less than a criminal terrorist organization masquerading as a government. The billions donated to this entity by foreign governments, including the United States, have done nothing to help ordinary Palestinians, but instead have lined the pockets of Yasser Arafat's kleptocracy.

In a rush to appease Arab hatred for Israel and media-inspired "outrage" at Israel's temerity in striking back at those who seek to kill its citizens, this country is moving again towards subsidizing Arafat. Others, including former President Jimmy Carter would like to seize this moment to restrict aid to democratic Israel. But this is precisely the time when Washington should be using its aid leverage to pressure Arafat and the Palestinians.

But donating money to the PA will not help those Palestinians who have been victimized by Arafat's decision to wage war instead of making peace. Such aid will only rebuild the infrastructure of terror. Alternate sources of administering aid must be found if progress toward peace or a better life for the Palestinians is to be achieved.

A far higher form of compassion than throwing money at these organizations might begin with an understanding of the corrupt nature of those who have helped perpetuate the problem.

JWR contributor Jonathan S. Tobin is executive editor of the Philadelphia Jewish Exponent. Let him know what you think by clicking here.

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